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N.C. Campus Compact honors Elon student as 'civic trailblazer'

The statewide coalition of colleges and universities also recognized an Elon student with its Community Impact Award for leadership and service. 

Jenny Fukunaga '17 has been honored as the 2016 recipient of the John H. Barnhill Civic Trailblazer Award from N.C. Campus Compact for her work creating innovative service partnerships and her leadership in inspiring others to serve.

Jenny Fukunaga '17 was named the 2016 recipient of the John H. Barnhill Civic Trailblazer Award. 

Fukunaga was honored with the award at the statewide group's recent CSNAP Conference at UNC-Asheville during which another Elon senior, June Shuler '17, was recognized with the Community Impact Award for outstanding leadership and service. Founded in 2002, N.C. Campus Compact is a statewide coalition of 36 public, private and community colleges and universities that are committed to civic and community engagement. 

Fukunaga began volunteering with the Alamance County community even before her first day of classes as a first-year student at Elon through a summer program that lets incoming students spend a week volunteering with nonprofits. “I am from Los Angeles and I knew going to school all the way across the country would be a big jump for me,” she says. “I knew I would get to know campus through regular orientation activities, but this was an opportunity for me to get out into the community and see what happens in Alamance County.”

A human service studies major, Fukunaga has stood out as a leader for Elon's Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. During her junior year, she served as student director of the service-learning community and focused on infusing reflection and social justice into conversations among community residents. This year, Fukunaga is one of three executive directors of the Kernodle Center and is responsible for coordinating leadership development and training for 150 student leaders in the Elon Volunteers! program. 

Jenny Fukunaga '17 with Evan Small, assistant director of the Kernodle Center for student programs

‚Äč“I have worked with a wide variety of student leaders, but Jenny stands above others in her passion, commitment to justice, and engagement in local issues," said Evan Small, assistant director of the Kernodle Center for student programs. "She truly embodies our mindset of ‘students as colleagues.’” 

At Elon, Fukunaga has pursued undergraduate research working with Bud Warner, associate professor of human service studies, that has included creating focus groups made up of Elon students, faculty and staff as well as local civic leaders to study engagement between the university's community and the broader surrounding community. 

Created in 2011, the Barnhill Award is named for John H. Barnhill, who founded innovative service programs while a student at Elon University and who later became the founding executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact. Fukunaga is the seventh student to receive the award, and the second recipient from Elon.

Also honored at the conference, Shuler is a senior from Zuoz, Switzerland, majoring in public health studies and policy studies, and was among 25 students selected by their campus this year for the Community Impact Award. During her time at Elon, she has focused on addressing issues related to human rights, social justice, internationalism and democracy. 

She serves as president of Elon's International Society and is an active contributor to the social justice work of the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education, and this election season played a pivotal role in helping students engage as an Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere ambassador and co-coordinator of the Elon Votes! initiative. 

Owen Covington,
11/16/2016 11:50 AM